There has been a relative peace in the world of Tyria after the defeat of the Great Destroyer. But another threat to the world has arisen; Zhaitan, the Undead Elder Dragon. Now all of Tyria must band together and stop Zhaintan, lest the world fall into corruption.
You must rise up and do your part to save the world.
Tyria has changed a lot in the 250 years since Guild Wars. The biggest change will be noticed right away as players can now choose between 5 races: Human, Norn, Charr, Sylvari, and Asura. All of these races, save for the Sylvari, were present in the first game, but this is the first time we’ll be able to play as them. During character creation, you’ll be given a set of choices that will define the direction of your personal story. Your personal story is a chain of quests (and technically the only quests in the game) in which you will be given more choices that further dictate what happens in the world around you. These quests are instanced and all of the proceeding quests will reflect the choices you made in earlier ones.
Outside of all this, you have the world of Tyria to explore and many things to do within it, all of which will grant you experience. You could take the Asura Gates and quickly travel to distant lands, seeking out Vistas and Points of Interest. You could take on the Skill Challenges or Tasks that litter the landscape. You could even take part in the dynamic events that are always occurring. You could go out into the world to procure the needed supplies for your crafting, or you could enter the battlegrounds and face players from other worlds in World vs World PVP. The choice is yours, and all of them will help you advance through the game.
Each class in the game is set up so that they can all perform the key roles that are typical to MMOs: Tank, DPS, and Healer. You can take anyone of these classes, and through a combination of Skills and Traits, make them into one of those three archetypes. Naturally, some of the classes work out a bit better than others, but there really isn’t ever a huge need to be grouped up with other people, save for the dungeons. The only time class setup really matters is during PVP, so I’m pretty sure most players will be speccing for that and little else. Aside from Skills and Traits, each class has a set of weapons, each one having different attacks attached to it. By using these weapons, more attacks will be unlocked (a total of five) as well as two additional attacks for the off-hand weapon. This means you can switch around your weapons to give yourself a different set of attacks for different situations, though you can only switch between two weapon sets while in combat.
The world of Tyria is beautiful and the Vistas spread throughout it do a great job of showcasing that beauty. Each area has it’s own theme and feel, making everything from the fields and caves, to the cities’ each race is from, feel very unique. While there isn’t a lot of life in terms of the NPC inhabitants, you won’t be spending very much inside any of the cities, aside from a handful of quests and tasks. Much of my time with the game was spent running about the land and taking it all in, sometimes stopping to gather supplies or take on an event. It’s truly nice to be rewarded in a game for just exploring, and my need to travel even netted me a few levels.
I normally talk about the visuals and the audio all in the same paragraph, but the music in this game stands on it’s own enough to warrant it’s own paragraph. All of the music is composed by Jeremy Soule of Elder Scrolls fame. If you love the music in those games—and how could you not—you are sure to love it here. Each area and event has it’s own music, with the tracks changing depending on the action of even the time, which helps set the mood.
There is a lot of good that can be said about this game with all I said not quite touching on all of the changes and innovations that the game has brought to the genre. But the game is by no means perfect and there are a lot of things that gave me trouble during my play time. These came in the form of broken quests, the lack of a direct trade system, the camera, and the Trade Post and mail systems being down for almost a week after launch. The mail and Trade Post systems seem to be working as they should now, which is good. However, the issues with the camera, which makes playing in closed-in areas frustrating, and the lack of a direct trade system have yet to be addressed. It seems weird to be playing an MMO where I cannot go into a First Person perspective or walk up to someone to initiate a trade. At the same time, there is no monthly fee for this game after the initial purchase so I find it a little hard to complain about anything.
Guild Wars 2 is a solid MMO and it’s taken to heart many of the complaints that have plagued the genre for years. As a result, we end up with a fast paced game that is full of things to do and see, and hardly any time to take a breather. It’s not perfect, despite all this, but it’s damn close. If you’re looking for a new MMO to dig into, you should definitely give this a try.
GO Rating: 4/5